Clean and Christmas just go together, don’t they?
- We clean so that we can decorate, and then we clean and remove containers after decorating.
- We clean before cooking delicious meals and baking, and then we wash the pots and pans until our fingertips turn into “raisins.”
- We clean before company comes and then vacuum and straighten the house when they leave.,
So much cleaning! Our homes should be diamond-sparkly this time of year. (Remember the old Mr. Clean commercials?)
Although our homes where people and pets live are rarely, if ever, spotless, we do like tidiness at holiday time. Before we decorate, cook, or entertain, we prefer cleanliness and order as a backdrop for our celebration, and we want our time with family and friends to be the best possible.
What makes Christmas time “the best possible?” An immaculate house with gourmet meals and beautifully wrapped gifts? Nope. Perfection is not an ingredient in the recipe for Christmas joy. In fact, perfectionism mixed with holiday prep can yield frustration, short tempers, and fatigue. (Can I get an Amen?)
I learned this lesson the hard way. After years of worrying about every detail and racing around in panic mode to have our home “ready,” I realized my husband and I began dreading the endless to-do list. We spent too much time on preparation and too little time on celebration. Had the luminaires on the driveway become more important to me than the light of Jesus shining from my heart?
The most important ingredient for Christmas joy is a clean heart focused on Immanuel, God with us. Unforgiveness, self-pity, selfishness, a judgmental attitude, perfectionism, and other sins clutter our hearts and occupy space that was designed for the peace and joy of Jesus during the celebration of His birth. I’m thankful He forgives us.
We still work hard to clean, decorate, and cook, but we’re enjoying the time more and reducing excessive planning in favor of focusing on the meaning of Christmas, family, and friendship.
As we clean and prepare our homes, let’s ask God to create a clean heart in us that we may celebrate His coming and the abundant life He offers to those who receive Him as Savior and Lord. Undesirable circumstances and difficult relationships may not change, but a clean heart promotes joyous celebration of His birth. His presence in a clean heart permeates homes at Christmas.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10 ESV